The Winnipeg Jets (29-26-6) are coming off a big win in their first outing since the Olympics, but the Nashville Predators (26-24-10) have played tough all season long. For the second straight game, the Jets have playoff position at stake.
The Jets and Predators went down to the wire in their last meeting, with Nashville taking a 4-3 win out of the MTS Centre on January 28th. The Predators have the edge in the season series, with the Jets holding a 1-2-1 record in 2013-14. Both teams are coming off victories in their first game back, with the Jets taking a shootout win over Phoenix, and the Preds defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Thursday.
The Jets will go back to Ondrej Pavelec in net, after he played one of his best games of the year two days earlier, making 34 saves on 36 shots. Pavelec is 19-22-4 with a .902% save percentage and a 2.95 GAA. At the other end will be Carter Hutton, who only had to make 14 saves for the win on Thursday against the Lightning. Hutton, 14-9-4, has a .904% save percentage and 2.84 GAA in 31 appearances.
The Jets will make a game-time decision on Matt Halischuk, who would play his first game since December 14th if in the lineup. The Predators are still without starting goaltender Pekka Rinne, although he is one step closer to making a return, in Milwaukee of the AHL on a conditioning assignment. Nick Spaling is also on the Predators’ Injured Reserve with a upper-body injury.
The Jets are 14-15-2 on the road this season, while the Predators are 15-12-4 at home. Winnipeg is 6-12-4 within the Central Division, a category that the Predators are 8-9-2 in.
Nashville can vault Winnipeg into the fifth Wild Card seed with a regulation win, tying the teams with 64 points. Nashville holds the tiebreaker between the two teams. With a win, Winnipeg can tie the Dallas Stars for the final Wild Card seed, although the Stars play Saturday, and hold the tiebreaker.
You can catch the game on TSN Jets, or listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Puck drop from the Bridgestone Arena is slated for 2:00 CT.
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